Friday, May 30, 2014

M&M Cookie Bark


Sometimes a crisp, crunchy cookie is exactly what you need. And sometimes you need it with a little chocolate. And sometimes, you don't want to go through the motions to portion dough into individual cookies. That's where this delicious treat comes in. Buttery, sweet and dotted with mini M&Ms, you get a lot of crunch and cookie flavor in a treat with a texture very reminiscent of brittle or bark. It's like two desserts in one. Plus candy. Seriously, how can you go wrong? Dave practically inhaled this stuff, but I got a few good chunks too and it's really good. So good I sent it to my Foodie Pen Pal this month!

The Lean Green Bean
It's the end of the month, so time to share the treats I received from Ashley, my Foodie Pen Pal for this month. Every month I look forward to Foodie Pen Pals, a concept thought up by Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean.  Go visit her blog to learn how to join--bloggers and non-bloggers are welcome!  Each month you'll have a chance to send a box full of goodies to on foodie while receiving a box for yourself. It's a great way to try new things and meet new people. This month I swapped packages with Ronda from Kitchen Dreaming. Ronda co-writes her blog with friend Dina and they've got a ton of amazing recipes on their website. You should definitely check it out. And while you're at it, take a look at all the other fun stuff I sent Ronda with a bag of this cookie bark. I was lucky to receive an awesome package of Southern treats, some of which have already been devoured and others that I'm looking forward to . Ronda included a package of cheesy jalapeno grits, FROG (fig, raspberry, orange and ginger) jam, deep fried peanuts (there's a baseball game in in their future), a pecan cluster with caramel and milk chocolate (so.freaking.good) and benne wafers, a traditional toasted sesame cookie. Now, you may be looking at that picture, saying, "I don't see any benne wafers, but I do see a bag with crumbs in it." That would be because I took my sweet time digging out my camera for this box (it may have been a few days) and these cookies had possessive powers over some of the people in our house. So, yes, they were delicious. Thanks Ronda for an excellent package!


But a little more about this bark. I found the recipe from Cathy at Lemon Tree Dwelling--she's got a ton of other flavors too, so check her out. I might need to make the mint chocolate version too. I followed the recipe as is, but I didn't stress out when I couldn't get the dough to be a perfect rectangle on my pan. It's going to be broken up into chunks anyway, so perfect straight edges and corners just don't matter. Instead, I focused on getting it pressed into a thin, even layer. Worked perfectly, baked up to a nice golden brown, and was the exact crispness I was looking for. Win!

M&M Cookie Bark


Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup mini M&Ms


In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand held mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars and beat until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in vanilla to incorporate.


Stir in baking soda, then gradually add flour and stir until combine.


Fold in M&Ms to distribute throughout.



Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat and press to a thin even layer, using hands or a spatula. Note: My baking sheets at 16 x 18 inches and have a rim. You could use something slightly smaller, but a 9 x 13 pan won't be enough room to get really thin bark.





Bake at 375 degree F for 12 minutes until lightly browned and completely set in the middle.


Cool completely (either on pan or if possible to transfer to a wire rack--I have a huge spatula that helped me make the transfer) then break into chunks.




Store in an airtight container or zip top bag.

Makes about 5 cups of bark.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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